Lincoln Movie 2012

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Specster

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Sep 19, 2014
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The movie is now being played on the regular pay channels.... (HBO, CMax., etc).

Im interested in what people thought and felt about this movie. Lincoln led such a rich, unusual life and death. Why is this movie fairly, almost entirely, focused upon the emancipation proclamation? Even the scene of his demise is entirely contrived....at least give him the respect of being accurate in that aspect.

In this movie I am unhappy with Hollywood. To be otherwise would be a rare event.
 
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John Winn

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For the record, it deals with passage of the 13th, not the EP but anyway:

I had really looked forward to it but upon seeing it had very mixed feelings. Day Lewis did a great job I thought as did a few others so that was good. I also thought they did a pretty good job at getting an authentic look. However, there were factual mistakes and a few things that didn't really match reality (like showing hospital workers dumping wheelbarrows of limbs in an alley - geez it was in Washington DC, not a field hospital). So, it was an OK bit of Hollywood melodrama but will likely annoy if one is a stickler for historical detail.
 
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huskerblitz

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The movie is now being played on the regular pay channels.... (HBO, CMax., etc).

Im interested in what people thought and felt about this movie. Lincoln led such a rich, unusual life and death. Why is this movie fairly, almost entirely, focused upon the emancipation proclamation? Even the scene of his demise is entirely contrived....at least give him the respect of being accurate in that aspect.

In this movie I am unhappy with Hollywood. To be otherwise would be a rare event.
The reason for the narrow focus is relatively simple: time. To delve into the level of character development and plot they had to focus on a singular event, rather than a long time period. Otherwise the movie would skyrocket in viewing time and wind up being a disaster in terms of profit.
 

matthew mckeon

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Oct 3, 2005
I don't think that that the focus of the movie was because of "time" After all Spielberg did "Schlinder's List" which covered years of history. The choice was to do a close look at a particular event: the passage of the 13th Amendment, and all that it entailed.

Also, I don't know what "history" is a problem with the film. It was about as accurate as a movie could be. The recitation scene was a little stagy in your mind: the mileage may vary. But that is film criticism, not history criticism.
 

huskerblitz

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I don't think that that the focus of the movie was because of "time" After all Spielberg did "Schlinder's List" which covered years of history. The choice was to do a close look at a particular event: the passage of the 13th Amendment, and all that it entailed.

Also, I don't know what "history" is a problem with the film. It was about as accurate as a movie could be. The recitation scene was a little stagy in your mind: the mileage may vary. But that is film criticism, not history criticism.
Perhaps, but when trying to keep behinds in the seats the movie length has to be decent, especially in period pieces. I won't argue the movie's purpose to single out that one event (13th Amendment) but film length does have to factor in.
 
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Specster

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The "time" issue is not significant. A skilled script writer can convey decades, and still hit the high points, in a matter of minutes. This was a lesson that was hard taught to me by a professional screen writer when I attempted to write a movie script some years ago.
 
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cash

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I saw the movie in Gettysburg, in a theatre filled with Lincoln scholars, and it got a standing ovation.

I thought the movie was wonderful. Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field, as mentioned above, were wonderful, and Jackie Earl Haley was uncanny. I thought the rest of the cast was superb as well.

As to changes to the historical record, that's what Hollywood does. They do that to enhance the story. The number one goal of a Hollywood movie is to entertain people, not to give a history lesson.

Stephen Spielberg and Tony Kushner wanted to portray Lincoln the human being, so they showed us how Lincoln interacted with his cabinet, with his family, and with other people around him. It wasn't the story of the 13th Amendment, it was a portrait of a man. They simply used that time period as the canvas on which to paint that portrait. The result was, in my opinion, an accurate portrait of the man.
 
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Pat Young

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I sure enjoyed it.
Here is a review of the film that I wrote at the time:

Modern America only began when slavery died. Lincoln, more than any other popular film ever, puts the old Jeffersonian America of unbridled racism and African American enslavement on display as it endured at the end of the Civil War. The film dispels any nostalgic notion that slavery was due to wither away as reason and benevolence led the (white) American electorate to embrace equality in the mid-19th Century. It was only through the brutal path of human slaughter that non-whites were even allowed to trammel the road to freedom.

Lincoln is the finest historical movie I have ever seen. It is cerebral, funny, naturalistic, emotional, and tragic by turns. The script treats viewers as intelligent sharers in a common history that too many of us, actually, are unfamiliar with. By crediting us with knowledge we may not in fact have, the film mimics Lincoln’s own project of lifting the commonality of people above their circumstances.

Lincoln the scheming politician, the loving father, the inadequate husband, and the American visionary dominates the film. And I say that it is Lincoln who appears as himself, because there is no sign of Daniel Day Lewis in the film. His performance here is the best of his own legendary career.

Sally Field also gives her finest performance as Mary Todd. She is a wonderful actress portraying a suffering, wronged, and oppressive woman whom history too often judges only by the criteria of whether she helped her husband enough.

The supporting cast should be given a collective Oscar.

This film will be used for generations to transmit to young people and new citizens alike the values of modern America and the sacrifice and struggle, and the dying and killing, that were necessary to realize them.

TINY NITPICK: Couldn’t the film have identified at least one character as an immigrant? A quarter of the soldiers Lincoln meets would have been immigrants, but you wouldn’t know it from the film. His secretary John George Nicolay is Lincoln’s enabler in the film. He was a German immigrant, but there is no indication of that in his accent or otherwise. A lot of the White House help were Irish, but they were also not in evidence. Oh well!
 

unionblue

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The movie is now being played on the regular pay channels.... (HBO, CMax., etc).

Im interested in what people thought and felt about this movie. Lincoln led such a rich, unusual life and death. Why is this movie fairly, almost entirely, focused upon the emancipation proclamation? Even the scene of his demise is entirely contrived....at least give him the respect of being accurate in that aspect.

In this movie I am unhappy with Hollywood. To be otherwise would be a rare event.
Specster,

We had a very interesting an informative discussion and debate on the historical accuracy of the movie on the following thread.

The Hampton Roads C0nference as presented in the movie, Lincoln.

http://civilwartalk.com/threads/the-hampton-roads-conference-as-presented-in-the-movie-lincoln.78373/#post-558316

Lot of things that were doubted in the movie actually did take place in history.

Enjoy,
Unionblue
 
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Patrick H

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Mar 7, 2014
I've said this before, but I'll toss it out again: It was a very good movie. It would have been an even better movie if it had been edited to a shorter running time. There were far too many dragging, lingering scenes.
 

Oxkern

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Oxford, England
I loved it. Cast-wise, Day-Lewis was exactly how I'd always pictured Lincoln at that stage of his life, overshadowing all the other performers.
It's a brilliant study of the game of politics and just how skilled he was at playing off various factions to achieve his results. People who go to see it thinking it's a war film will be disappointed.

The only thing that still irks me is that bit right near the end that really, really feels like the finish, but isn't. If you've seen it, you'll know the shot I mean.
 
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Specster

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I saw the movie in Gettysburg, in a theatre filled with Lincoln scholars, and it got a standing ovation.

I thought the movie was wonderful. Daniel Day Lewis and Sally Field, as mentioned above, were wonderful, and Jackie Earl Haley was uncanny. I thought the rest of the cast was superb as well.

As to changes to the historical record, that's what Hollywood does. They do that to enhance the story. The number one goal of a Hollywood movie is to entertain people, not to give a history lesson.

Stephen Spielberg and Tony Kushner wanted to portray Lincoln the human being, so they showed us how Lincoln interacted with his cabinet, with his family, and with other people around him. It wasn't the story of the 13th Amendment, it was a portrait of a man. They simply used that time period as the canvas on which to paint that portrait. The result was, in my opinion, an accurate portrait of the man.

I had know doubt, that you, given your biases, would find the movie "wonderful". I dont want to turn this into a personal attack upon you. All I ask is to have a little objectivity. I will try to be as civil as possible...I dont want u 2 think this is personal, but to say that movie was a representation of of who Lincoln was is doing him a grave injustice. Most incideous, if u r not going to get this extraordinary mans life correct, at least give 5 minutes to getting his death so.
 
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brass napoleon

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...if u r not going to get this extraordinary mans life correct, at least give 5 minutes to getting his death so.
I may have missed something. But in what ways did the movie get his life, and his death, wrong?
 

AndyHall

Colonel
Joined
Dec 13, 2011
The film was officially billed as being based on Team of Rivals because Spielberg was contractually obligated to do so. He optioned the book years before when it first came out, but the events of the film only get (IIRC) two or three pages in the book. Kushner's screenplay is almost entirely drawn from other sources.

I thought it was very well done, and covered a tremendously important event, the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment, that gets little attention from the general public. Nine persons out of ten will tell you that the Emancipation proclamation ended slavery in the U.S. It didn't; the Thirteenth Amendment did.

I thought handling of Lincoln's assassination was exceptionally well done. Everyone knows what will happen to Lincoln as he trundles off down the hall to join Mary in the carriage, so there's no need to show it explicitly. Focusing instead on Tad -- a child who the viewer has come to know through the course of the film -- is gut-wrenching in a way that showing events at Ford's Theater could never be.

Lots of liberties were taken with historic facts to make the film more dramatic, to make the story more clear. That goes with the territory, and it's been done in lots of films, including Gettysburg. I look at, and appreciate, Lincoln in the same way I do Glory, which has its own historical inaccuracies. In both cases, though, they gave the viewer a vivid picture of real events that they would never had gotten otherwise. Several million people saw Lincoln, far, far more than will ever read Team of Rivals, or anything by Gary Gallagher, Allen Guelzo or Drew Faust. That's all to the good.
 
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